In profile: The first Roma squad to win Serie A in 1942

While many of the players to win Serie A with Roma in 1983 and 2001 have become household names, there is a danger that those who first conquered Italy with the club in 1942 slip away with the mists of time.

Roma wrapped up their first ever Serie A title on 14th June, 1942, thanks to a 2-0 win at home to Modena. The end of a nine-game unbeaten run on a title charge at the end of the season, the result ensured Roma finished above Torino, who slipped up against Fiorentina on the final day.

It was a deserved triumph for Roma, who had not been outside the top three all season. But who were the heroes that we ought to remember from that season?

Here is the lineup that beat Modena, followed by the rest of the squad who contributed to Roma’s first major success.

Guido Masetti

Guido Masetti made his Roma debut 90 years ago, but is still regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the club’s history. Having won two World Cups with Italy and already amassing more than 300 appearances for Roma before 1941 – more than any other player – Masetti had taken over as captain for the Scudetto-winning season.

Masetti enjoyed his best ever season in 1941-42, as he conceded just 22 goals in 30 appearances across all competitions. And he was on form when it mattered most, keeping a clean sheet in the final day win over Modena as Roma clinched the title.

Goalkeepers tend to thrive later than their outfield counterparts, and it was no different back in the day for Masetti. He was 34 years old when he became the first captain to win Serie A with Roma, missing just one game all season.

Masetti has since been inducted into the Roma Hall of Fame.


Luigi Brunella

An intelligent right-back, Luigi Brunella initially joined Roma in 1939, barely featuring in his first season. During the Scudetto season, though, he was indispensable, as one of four ever-present players.

Brunella never scored in his first spell for Roma, despite making over 100 appearances. He was an integral part of the team, though, and after leaving the club in 1943, it wasn’t long before he was back in the capital.

Brunella returned to Roma in 1945, playing on for three more years before retiring. During that second spell, he finally managed to score the only goal of his Serie A career.

He had a stint as Roma manager immediately after his playing career ended.

Sergio Andreoli

Only 19 years old when Roma signed him at the start of the Scudetto season, Sergio Andreoli was a reliable left-back who made 20 appearances in his first campaign with the club.

While the Second World War saw many players leave the club, Andreoli was something of a rarity by having an uninterrupted nine-year spell with the club, running up until 1950.

During that time, he made more than 200 appearances, and at the time of his departure, he was the highest scoring defender the club had ever had.

In that regard, he has since been surpassed by only 10 players of his position.

Aldo Donati

A World Cup winner with Italy in 1938, Aldo Donati was entering his fourth season with Roma in 1941. The midfielder had established himself as one of the leaders of the group, with plenty of experience having passed the age of 30.

Donati only missed one game all season as Roma clinched their first Serie A title. On an individual basis, it was a third triumph for the player, who had won the league twice before with Bologna.

It was in 1941-42 that Donati scored the first two goals of his career, despite the wealth of games he had played before.

Edmondo Mornese

Another of the more experienced members of the group, Edmondo Mornese took on a role of responsibility as a defensive midfielder. He arrived in the summer of 1941, having previously played more than 300 games for Novara.

Missing just one game throughout the entire season, Mornese’s experience made him an instant success in the capital. He stayed for four seasons, before retiring at the end of the War.

Mornese was the first member of the title-winning squad to pass away, in 1962.

Paolo Jacobini

Capable of playing as a defender or a midfielder, Paolo Jacobini was still a teenager when he joined Roma in 1939. He stayed at the club for eight years, managing 132 league appearances.

While he was only a regular in his first season – he made just seven appearances in the Scudetto year – he had an important role to play in the title deciding match.

Jacobini’s career continued for five years after leaving Roma in 1948, as he went on to play for the likes of Napoli and Grosseto.

Ermes Borsetti

A central midfielder, Ermes Borsetti had made just over 50 appearances for Roma before leaving for Torino in 1939. He only spent one season in the north, though, returning to the capital immediately after.

Borsetti was used less frequently in his second spell, being granted just eight league appearances in 1941-42. However, he usually performed when given a chance, as he scored four goals in those games, in a prolific run near the end of the season.

And his goals were important. It was Borsetti who scored the second goal against Modena to close the curtains on a successful season for Roma, writing his name in history as the last goalscorer of the club’s first Scudetto-winning campaign.

Renato Cappellini

The first goalscorer before Borsetti against Modena had been Renato Cappellini. Roma had a striker of the same name in the early 1970s, but this Cappellini was a midfielder.

He had joined at the start of the season, and scored four goals in 18 appearances. Cappellini spent just one more year in the capital after, as he approached the end of his career. By the time he retired, the Scudetto he played a crucial role in helping Roma clinch was the only honour he had gained.

Amedeo Amadei

(Photo from Wikipedia)

One of the most recognisable names of this squad, Amedeo Amadei had made history for Roma by becoming their youngest ever player – and scorer – in 1937, when he was just 15.

By 1941, Amadei had only just left his teenage years behind him, but was already establishing himself as a dangerous striker, having scored 30 goals for the club prior to the start of the Scudetto campaign.

His goals were crucial throughout the season, with no player in the whole league scoring more than his tally of 18, except for Milan’s Aldo Boffi.

Amadei continued to lead the line for Roma until leaving against his will in 1948. By that point, he had become just the second player to reach 100 goals for the club.

Amadei is the only outfield player from the first title-winning squad to be in the Roma Hall of Fame. He was still alive to see himself inducted in 2012, passing away a year later.

Aristide Coscia

A talented midfielder with strong aerial prowess, Aristide Coscia had repaid the faith Roma had shown in him when signing him from Serie B side Alessandria in 1938.

Coscia was ever-present in both the 1940-41 and 1941-42 seasons, scoring four goals in the latter as he became an Italian champion.

After leaving Roma in 1943, he went on to spend time at Inter and Juventus, before returning to Alessandria briefly. After leaving them again, he had a prolonged spell with Sampdoria – but he did not surpass the 153 appearances he had made for Roma.

Miguel Angel Panto

One of only two foreign players in Roma’s first Scudetto-winning squad, Argentine winger Miguel Angel Panto was brought to Europe by the club in 1939.

Panto played in every game of the 1941-42 season, and was the only player other than Amadei to reach double figures of goals, scoring 12 times.

The left-sided player left Roma in 1947, having scored 41 goals in 140 appearances. At the time, that made him the club’s fifth all-time top scorer. He remains the ninth highest-scoring foreign player Roma have ever had.

The rest of the squad

Ippolito Ippoliti

After coming through the youth ranks at Roma, goalkeeper Ippolito Ippoliti had made 12 appearances in the previous season, but was not used in 1941-42. He left at the end of the following season, but returned for one year in 1944-45, playing once.

Fosco Risorti

The reserve goalkeeper who did feature in the one game Masetti missed in 1941-42, instead, was Fosco Risorti. He had joined the club at the start of the season, but was barely used in the two years that followed, and was allowed to leave.

However, Risorti returned to the club in 1945, and became Roma’s number one in the post-War years, playing 177 times in a seven-year stint.

Mario Acerbi

A full-back who had joined Roma in 1939, Mario Acerbi featured heavily in his first two years at the club, but made just nine appearances in the Scudetto season, having been overtaken by Brunella in the pecking order. Acerbi, who could play on either side of defence, left a year later in 1943.

Luigi Nobile

Just 20 years old when the season began, Luigi Nobile was a left-back who had emerged from the academy – but his eventual career would be far away from the football pitch.

Nobile made just three appearances for the club – one in the Scudetto year – before completing a degree in Medicine and Surgery during the War. He never returned to football.

Giuseppe Bonomi

The most regularly used player to miss out on the final day of the season, Giuseppe Bonomi had collected 24 appearances as a midfielder in the 1941-42 Serie A campaign.

Frequently used in his five seasons with the club between 1938 and 1943, Bonomi failed to score in the Scudetto season, having previously been prolific with Atalanta.

Mario De Grassi

A rarely used midfielder, Mario De Grassi managed a solitary appearance in the 1941-42 season. Across six years with the club, he only played 37 times in the league.

Luigi Di Pasquale

Several players have had two spells with Roma, but Luigi Di Pasquale is part of a select group of players to have had three. Unfortunately for him, none of them lasted particularly long.

Leaving the club after one season in 1939, Di Pasquale returned to Roma ahead of the title-winning campaign, scoring two goals in eight Serie A appearances – including the first of the season.

It was enough to see him stay for a further year, but he left again, like many others, in 1943, due to Italy’s involvement in the War.

When the War finished in 1945, Di Pasquale returned for one more year, playing just six times.

Cesare Benedetti

Providing back-up for the team’s main attackers in his first year at Roma was Cesare Benedetti, although he managed just three appearances, without scoring. He remained for the following season, but again, was goal shy, only scoring once.

Naim Krieziu

The second foreign player in the squad and the club’s third top scorer that season with six goals from 24 games, Naim Krieziu was an Albanian winger who had been a key figure since his 1939 arrival.

He had joined the club quite young, featuring rarely in his first year, but his gametime grew over the next few years, and he was a prominent player in the Scudetto season.

Krieziu scored an important late winner against Bologna in the first away game of the season, and also turned up in the big games – netting against Juventus and Inter later in the campaign.

The coach

Alfred Schaffer


The first man to lead Roma to the league title was Alfred Schaffer, a Hungarian who had enjoyed a prolific spell with MTK Budapest as a player, scoring an astonishing 159 goals in just 84 games between 1914 and 1919.

He became player-coach of Austria Vienna in 1923, aged 30, and held the same role with Sparta Prague in 1925. By the end of his playing career, he had represented 21 different clubs – believed to be a record in professional football.

Schaffer went on to manage in Germany, for the likes of Eintracht Frankfurt and Nuremberg. But his first major honours as a coach came back at MTK Budapest, whom he led to back-to-back Hungarian league titles in 1936 and 1937.

After coaching his country to the World Cup final in 1938 – where they lost to Masetti and Donati’s Italy – Schaffer won the Romanian Cup at Rapid Bucharest, before venturing to the country who had defeated him on the biggest international stage.

Schaffer became the eighth Roma head coach in 1940, taking over towards the end of the 1939-40 season. After guiding the side to two wins, one draw and one defeat by the conclusion of that campaign, Schaffer led Roma to an 11th placed finish in his first full season in charge – also narrowly missing out on being the first coach to win the Coppa Italia with the club.

The season after, Schaffer got his chance to write his name in history, as he led Roma to the Serie A title.

Rising to the top of the league from the very first matchday, Roma only slipped away from top spot after the fifth, ninth, 19th and 27th games. Apart from after the 19th match, when Roma spent five games outside top spot, he ensured his side bounced back to first place immediately on every occasion.

Schaffer departed 10 games into the next season, with Roma struggling to match their achievements of the previous year despite a promising first couple of games. He then had a season each at Ferencvaros and Bayern Munich, before dying in the War in 1945, at the age of 52.

In total, Schaffer managed Roma in 84 matches. Only the two men to have managed Roma directly before him, Luigi Barbesino and Guido Ara, had led the club in more matches up to that point.

Schaffer is now the 15th longest serving manager in Roma history – but he will always be the first to win the league.


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